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Underwhelmed at Willow

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I'd heard such great things about Willow from everyone... and finally tried it last week as an early V-day treat. I was very disappointed in my entree, the Marseilles Seafood Stew. It came out tepid- who likes to eat lukewarm seafood? And when I sent it back it was overcooked. Now you might fault me for not speaking up again, but we had a long wait while my husband continued his fried chicken dinner which he pronounced tasty, but not deserving of the hype, and I would have ended up eating the entree alone.

In addition to the entrees we have the serviceable beet goat cheese salad, a Brussels sprouts side dish and the also too heavily hyped cake of the day. The waiter, an older gentleman gave the impression that he would rather be elsewhere, reported that the cake was a chocolate mocha torte, but it turned out to be a perfectly pleasant chocolate layer cake, with a mocha frosting that at least wasn't too sweet. I did think the portion was skimpy for $10.

The only standout was the sprouts- absolutely delicious- roasted with chunks of thick-slab bacon. I should have chucked the stew and had another side!

The low point was definitely the seafood because the overcooked fish was just one problem. The dish was not tasty. It was sitting in a scant coating of sauce and there were several slivers of garlic and I found a bit of green olive, but that was it for flavor. There was a bit of wait staff "attitude"on two occasions- once when the wine glasses were whisked away with the unspoken air of "oh those vulgarian beer drinkers" and again when I requested some lemon for the stew.

I normally would have spoken to a manager, but it was a holiday dinner and I didn't want the evening to end on a sour note. So instead I complain here. I think the dinner was over $100 dollars and we both agreed that we would have been better off going to Ravi Kebab down the street!

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Willow Restaurant - Arlington
4301 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203

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  1. Sorry you had a bad experience. I really like Willow and would go more often if it wasn't so expensive. Of course, for these prices, you want the food to be good. If you ever go again, I would recommend the crab cakes, the lobster agnolotti, filet mignon. They used to have this good lemony roast chicken but I guess their menu changes often. They also know their way around a fryer so the portabello fries are to die for. I am also a sucker for their layer cake--the last one I had was a tiramisu layer cake. As you noted, tiny slice, but it was really good. Oh, also some of the flatbreads. Good: Willow flatbread. Bad: sicilian flatbread with tuna.